Ketogenic Foods

Ketogenic foods

Ketogenic foods are foods which are low in carbohydrate, high in fat and lower in protein. The picture at right is a good example of a ketogenic meal.

A general list of these foods includes both animal and plant based foods, but they are all real, whole foods such as:

  • Meats, poultry and seafood in any form, preferably grass fed or wild caught (for instance, imitation crabmeat is not wild caught and has sugar and starch in it.) You can choose from beef, pork, chicken, turkey, shellfish, fish and the higher the fat content of the meat, the better.  Dark meat thighs or better options than lean chicken breast, for example.
  • Eggs, in any form. Deviled eggs make great snacks, and eggs in many forms are typically are a breakfast foundation food. Quiche, scrambled eggs, omelets, poached eggs, hard boiled eggs are all good choices.

  • Natural Fats: I believe one should only eat real, organic fats like butter, cream and coconut oil, but if you want to include commercial mayonnaise, vegetable oils and olive oil, you can. However, I do advise leaning toward butter,  olive oil and coconut oil, and limiting your intake of refined vegetable oils (soybean, canola, safflower, sunflower or corn oil) as they are high in Omega 6 fatty acids and can contribute to a long list of health issues associated with inflammation.
  • Green leafy vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, kale, collards, cucumbers and high fiber cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. You'll need to track how much of the sweeter vegetables you eat (tomatoes, peppers, summer squash) because these are higher in carb. A whole plate of tomatoes will quickly put you over your carb limit.
  • This low carb food list of foods are also allowed on a ketogenic diet.

    Cooking is a Big Part of Eating Well

    As you look over these lists, you'll notice that these foods are close to their natural state. This means they require cooking to prepare them properly. This is an important point to remember.

    See my low carb cooking page for more information on how to cook these foods, and my low carb recipes page for ideas on what to cook.

    Eating a healthy ketogenic diet means you'll need to spend more time in the kitchen. Most processed foods are convenient of course, but they are also full of sugar and starch.

    If you are switching to a ketogenic foods diet for health reasons, giving up processed food and learning to cook for yourself are major steps on the path to better health.

    However, If You Really Hate to Cook

    If you don't know how to cook, and don't want to learn, there are ways to still eat ketogenic foods. There are lots of restaurants which have low carb options on the menus, and in a pinch, you can get a fast food hamburger and just avoid eating the bread.

    There are restaurants which offer low carb choices, or gluten free menus which are usually lower in carb. The trick is to plan ahead. Usually, you can get the menu of a restaurant on the internet, then you'll have time to really look at it and make a wise choice without the pressure of the waiter or waitress waiting for your decision.

    Your best bet for staying on plan is to order some sort of roasted or broiled meat and a salad with the dressing on the side. Or order a salad as a meal, such as a big Caesar with broiled chicken on top. Just be mindful of vinagrette dressings, they usually have a lot of sugar in them. Creamy dressings are usually higher in fat and lower in carb.

    There are also grocery stores which offer pre-cooked foods such as roasted chickens, steamed shrimp, beef brisket, etc.  Through in a salad with some full fat dressing and you have a keto meal.

    However, I think that part of the journey toward better health is developing a habit of caring for yourself, and I can't think of a better way than to be able to make a delicious meal out of real, whole foods for yourself.

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